Welcome for NI social care support package

25.11.2021 | Mission News, Social Witness, Church in Society, Statements, COVID-19 Emergency

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland has welcomed the Minister of Health’s announcement of a one-off support package for domiciliary care staff in Northern Ireland, but has said real root and branch change is needed.

Through PCI’s social care arm, its Council for Social Witness manages the denomination’s provision of residential, nursing, supported housing, respite and day care, along with a number of community-based programmes, employing around 400 people.

Speaking about Minister Swann’s announcement of the £23 million support package, Lindsay Conway OBE, outgoing Secretary to the Council for Social Witness said, “While we welcome Mr Swann’s announcement, as he recognised himself, a longer-term and more durable solution is needed for social care services across Northern Ireland.

“Over the last 19 months the social care system has been tested above and beyond its limits. Along with other social care providers, and the sector in general, the biggest issue facing us is staffing. We operate almost permanently with considerable staffing vacancies as attracting and retaining staff has become increasingly more difficult,” he said.

“If I could take the opportunity to reiterate what I said at our General Assembly last month, I can’t stress enough that we must grasp the big issues of underfunding, terms and conditions, pay, creating a career structure within the sector, and address both the use and cost of agency staff. We need to give the care of older people and those with additional needs the highest priority. This is why we welcome the review of the social care sector and call upon all parties to take the hard decisions, the necessary root and branch decisions, required to implement long-overdue and necessary change in this area.”

In conclusion, Mr Conway said, “My colleagues, along with our colleagues in health, have been heroes this last while, going above and beyond what they have been called to do, often putting their own lives at risk. We owe it to them, and to those we care for, to get this right.”

To become part of PCI's social care team in any number of roles in residential, nursing, supported housing, respite and day care provision, please see the job opportunites section here.

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